Located in a former Portland Department of Public Works warehouse, Knickerbocker Group’s 6,200-square-foot Portland offices showcase the firm’s focus on craftsmanship and innovative design.
Initially a raw industrial shell, the space now has restored brick exterior walls, white-painted ceiling beams, and ductwork that create a unifying palette. To provide light and views, a central core contains the kitchenette, server space, four private bathrooms and a shower, and a mother’s—or focus—room. Wood-toned workstations, which boast sit-stand desktops and closed storage, ring the windowed perimeter, bringing light into interior offices that feature all-glass walls. Overhead lighting is zoned, dimmable, and connected to efficient occupancy sensors. Functional and decorative acoustical treatments, such as wavelike felt panels that float above a meeting table, minimize sound echoing.
The natural beauty of wood and craftsmanship are highlighted throughout the space, from the live-edge conference room table—locally made from a fallen oak tree in downtown Saco—to the custom, built-on-site walnut acoustical panel wall that is backed with sound-absorbing material. The ADA-compliant, walnut kitchenette has touch-latch cabinets, concealed appliances, and an ash counter-height table that can be used for eating, working, or a brief meeting with a vendor or coworker.
Welcoming design details are reminiscent of a residential property: planters handmade by a local ceramicist are filled with ferns and succulents, a Soumak wool rug softens a poured concrete floor, walls are in deep green nickel-gap with carefully mitered corners, and art is hung gallery-style. The outdoor deck—where native grasses and hop vines swish in the Casco Bay breeze next to lounge areas that encourage gatherings—uses a modular system that floats on the roof to avoid penetrations and is designed for maximum privacy with minimal weight.
As the firm is both design and build, seamless in-house coordination and real-time decision-making kept the jobsite running safely during COVID lockdowns. Today, employees work in a history- and nature-inspired space that encourages creativity and cross-disciplinary collaboration.